Sabres vs. Rangers recap: Furious third period not enough as Sabres lose 4-2

Buffalo played a heck of a third period...after playing a heck of a bad first two.

Depending on when you tuned in to tonight's game featuring the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Rangers, you'd be hard pressed to tell which team was fighting for a playoff position and which team was fighting for a draft position.

If you watched the first 30 minutes, you saw a Rangers team that dominated play, a Sabres team which looked panicked and inept and a Buffalo goaltender that saw both poor luck and poor positioning end his night. It was one of those frustrating games that made you wonder whether or not the Sabres were making any traction in their rebuild, or simply spinning their wheels.

If you watched the final 30 minutes, you saw a Sabres squad that dominated the New York backline, out-shooting, out-skating, and out-working a Rangers squad that looked scared and uncertain. The Sabres recieved strong goaltending and defense, and created a number of dangerous rushes with their young players, getting goals from Sam Reinhart and Johan Larsson.

So which 30 minutes is a true reflection of tonight's game? As with most things in life, it's a combination of the two. If you're a pessimist, you can look at the first three goals and say how Lehner is soft, the team has no heart, and they can't finish. If you look at the last 30 minutes, optimists can say that the team finally tightened up on defense, they've got the speed and skill to challenge top teams, and they can dominate play for extended stretches.

As this nascent group continues to grow this year and next, I still have every confidence that we'll see more and more of the final 30 minutes and less of the first 30. But as it stands now, this Sabres team is inconsistent at best, and unpredictable at worst. Part of the fun of the journey to the NHL's elite will be watching this franchise learn to eliminate that inconsistency, compete at a high level every night, and learn to dominate every team from contenders to pretenders.

Until then, we'll have to deal with nights like tonight, and continue to dream of what will be someday. Here's to the future.

Three Questions

1. Can the Sabres please avoid a start like yesterday?

Well, the team avoided a horrendous start, and put forth merely a poor start. Progress! Perhaps someday they can even score the first goal - something they haven't done, amazingly, in the last nine games. Let's avoid double digits, shall we please?

2. Can the Sabres win on special teams?

Despite their better numbers on the season, the Sabres allowed a power play goal to the Rangers and couldn't capitalize on either of their two power plays.

3. Will Jack keep his point streak rolling?

Yes - by assisting on Sam Reinhart's goal, both Eichel and Reinhart tied their season-high point streaks with four and three games respectively.

Comment of the Game

Just when all seems lost

We get a glimpse of what this team can be!


Watch here.